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Alan P. Gartner '56

Alan Gartner, a civil rights activist who served as a top advisor in the Bloomberg administration, died July 14, 2015. He was 80 and graduated with a BA in History from Antioch College in 1956. His children include Rachel B. Gartner ’83. Alan served as an Antioch College Trustee 1974-75.

The cause of death was Parkinson's disease, a family friend said.

Known as a man who worked behind-the-scenes to fight against inequality, Gartner was once beaten by segregationists during a protest in Louisiana and held a top position a major civil rights organization during the 1960s.

"He was a true giant as far as civil rights were concerned," said former Deputy Mayor and schools chancellor Dennis Walcott of his old chief of staff.

In 1965, Gartner, who was studying at Harvard, traveled to Bogalusa, La., for a protest where he was attacked by racists. He suffered cuts, bruises and broken glasses.

At the time, Gartner was serving as the national community relations director for the Congress of Racial Equality, a leading civil rights group in the 1960s.

He left CORE and worked in several antipoverty organizations in Suffolk County and New York. Eventually, he started to work as an education scholar at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York where he earned a doctorate in urban education.

As an academic, he wrote or edited more than 25 books, including "Inclusion and School Reform: Transforming America's Classrooms."

In the late 1970s, he served as the director for special education, a cause he long championed.

Before the 2001 mayoral election, he served as an education policy advisor to Bloomberg. After the election, he became Walcott's chief of staff.

"Like many CUNY students, I was lucky to have him as a teacher, and he became an invaluable part of our City Hall team and the education reforms that made such a big difference in the lives of millions of children," Bloomberg said.

Gartner is survived by his wife Dorothy, six children, and 11 grandchildren.

Source: New York Daily News